Journalist arrested while covering break-up of LA protest encampment

September 13, 2020

Freelance journalist Talia Jane was arrested while covering a police raid of a protest camp in Los Angeles on Sept. 13, 2020.

Los Angeles law enforcement officers moved in to break up the encampment in the city’s Grant Park, across from City Hall, early on the morning of Sept. 13, the Los Angeles Times reported. The encampment had been established in June by activists, in part to support protests for racial justice and against police brutality that began following the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minnesota on May 25.

Jane told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker she was reporting on the police action for social media. Jane has freelanced for publications including VICE, Elle, and Mic. Before her arrest, Jane said, she was following a standoff between law enforcement officers and protesters involved with the group Black Unity LA.

At around 8:30 a.m., police ordered protesters to disperse, she said. Jane said she continued to film a line of police officers forming across a street, as she walked about half a block in front of the police.

Video she posted on Instagram shows four officers suddenly running toward her. “Put your hands behind your back,” one said repeatedly.

“You’re arresting me?” she asked.

According to Jane, she was identified as press on her hat and backpack and had a digital press badge from the Freelance Journalists Union on the lock screen of her phone. She said she told arresting officers multiple times that she was a journalist.

Jane said she was held for eight hours before she was released without bail. She said she faces a misdemeanor charge of failure to disperse and was given a citation for $5,000. According to Jane, she was given a court date in January 2021.

A spokesperson for the LAPD told the Tracker the department would not comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists being assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas, or having their equipment damaged while covering these protests across the country. Find these incidents here.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

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